1973 - a tough time to launch the new MGBGTV8

Launched in August 1973, the V8 powered MGBGT combined the popular fixed head coupe body style with a powerful three and half litre light alloy V8 engine. The Rover powerplant ran with a reduced 8.25 to 1 compression ratio but an increased torque compared with the similar engines then used in the Rover saloons. The result transformed the MGBGT, creating a very nimble car with the luxury of multi-cylinder power which was both flexible and economical, features which continue to have a special appeal for V8 enthusiasts today. Victor Smith reflects on his MGBGTV8 from the mid 1970s.

How did sales go following the launch?
Stocks of V8s had been delivered from Abingdon to many dealers in time for the launch of the new MGBGTV8 at the Motor Show at Earls Court in August 1973, but within just a following few weeks serious political and consequent economic factors hit sales of MGBGTV8s in a serious way. So what were those political economic factors?

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Analysis of the effect of the effect on MGBGTV8 sales from an oil embargo, UK fuel shortages and then serious inflation. Using our V8 Database, a copy of the MG Factory production records and UK vehicle records on the GOV.UK website our analysis shows the impact on sales from August 1973. See our report highlighting the "sales delay" effect.
See Sales delay analysis report

Posted: 220105

MGBGTV8 launch photo

MGBGTV8 launch - Motor Show at Earls Court in August 1973. Video report

Launch faced a Middle East War then an oil embargo, domestic fuel shortages and high inflation - see our analysis of the effect on MGBGTV8 sales.
Sales delay analysis report

MGBGTV8 on display up on a dramatic ramp on the MG stand at Earls Court
Political and economic factors that hit sales
Following growing tensions in the Middle East, on 6th October 1973 Egypt and Syria invaded Israel beginning the Yom Kippur War which lasted until a ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on 25th October 1973 to officially end the war. But there then followed the "1973 oil crisis" in October 1973 when the members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, proclaimed an oil embargo restricting oil supplies. Initially it was targeted at nations that had supported Israel during the Yom Kippur War like Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the USA and UK, but was later extended further. By the end of the embargo in March 1974, the price of crude oil had risen nearly 300%, from US$3 per barrel to nearly US$12 per barrel globally with US prices significantly higher.

The combination of consequential fuel shortages and high prices had dramatic effects on the British economy which produced an energy crisis. The UK Government considered a range of measures to reduce the use of oil by ten per cent, including rationing petrol and reducing speed limits. At the end of 1973, the UK Government announced a state of emergency and decided on a three-day week in certain industries. In 1974, the UK Government considered further measures for reducing the domestic use of oil. Inflation in the UK increased to nearly 15% in 1974 and to over 27% in 1975. It was a tough time to launch a new MG with a V8 engine.
See: full article & analysis charts

Launch of the MGBGTV8 came at a difficult time
Many MGV8 enthusiasts have noticed how long it took some MGBGTV8 to be sold and first registered from the date they were built and then dispatched from the MG Plant at Abingdon to dealers around the UK. Here Victor Smith looks back at the oil crisis in 1974 and 1974 which lead to increased motor fuel costs and a recession in the UK with higher motor vehicle production costs and consequent prices increases plus and a squeeze on disposable income for people in the UK and their available funds to buy a sports car. More